Don't be me!

Especially not at the Puyallup Fair...

I first learned about enteric peppermint oil capsules for IBS over twenty years ago, when I was doing research for the first edition of my First Year IBS book. I was intrigued by the medical studies that showed real results, for both children and adults. I really liked that they had a long history of use in Europe as well as the US. And I was super hopeful they would actually work.

I had to import some from England to try, as I couldn't find any on the US market. But oh! if they worked, it would be worth it...

I would have given anything to just take a pill and head off the blinding pain and spasms that hit me with IBS attacks.

So I started trying them cautiously, in situations where I knew I'd need extra help. Before restaurant meals, first thing in the morning if I had to get up early, when I had my period, you know the drill.  And they worked. Oh my God they worked.  

I could definitely tell a difference, I suspected a huge difference. They were giving me a serious margin of safety in situations where I was often in big trouble.

I began to rely on them regularly, carrying them with me in case I needed to eat out. I kept a bottle by my bed so I could remember to take one last thing at night before work mornings.

But before I wrote about them in my book and actually recommended them to other folks with IBS, I wanted to put them to the test. So I did something really stupid.

I went to the Puyallup Fair, one of my favorite places in the world. I love the century old fairgrounds, the rides at night, the farm animals, the giant pumpkin growing contest...and the food. Oh my God the fair food. Fisher scones with blackberry jam, caramel corn, roasted corn on the cob, more scones, wild salmon sandwiches, more scones, onion ring towers, Seattle fudge – and more scones!

It's actually a miracle I haven't ever had an IBS attack at the fair. Especially considering I've gone every autumn of my life, from kindergarten on, and for years I had no idea what foods would help me and what foods would hurt.

So – here I am at the fair twenty years ago, determined to personally give peppermint oil capsules the IBS challenge.  And I have to confess I'm genuinely worried because the stakes are so high.  Another confession - worried is not the right word. I'm terrified.

What if the pep caps don't work to prevent that brutal pain and agony? I'm thinking to myself, this is a really stupid move, Heather.

But... I had gained confidence by that point. I'd been getting real help from those little capsules, they'd been keeping me stable in situations with unavoidable triggers. They'd earned my faith. Now what if they could keep me safe when I was playing with fire? Splurging with known triggers? What if I even deliberately overused them? What were the consequences?

I took the plunge. My husband jokes that I took one for the team.  

I doubled up the dose and took two caps at a time (don't be me!)

I took them just a few minutes before I ate instead of waiting 30-60 minutes (don't be me!)

At one point while walking through the horse barn I actually felt like I was breathing peppermint and then I suddenly burped a giant cloud of mint. (Can't say I was surprised, as I was taking so many of them and not following the directions at all.)

I was basically trying to overwhelm my gut with those peppermint oil capsules so my IBS wouldn't stand a chance in the face of them.

And it worked. Amazingly, incredibly, it worked. I didn't get sick. I never doubled over with cramps. I didn't ever have to rush/stagger to the bathroom, hoping I'd make it before I blacked out from pain.

I had a glorious time at the fair that day. I can still feel the sun on my face from the afternoon, and I can still taste those scones. From that day on peppermint oil capsules were a daily weapon in my IBS arsenal.

One huge caveat here – I am not prone to heartburn, GERD, reflux, or any other upper GI issues at all. I never have any side effects from peppermint in any form. Not everyone has my peppermint tolerance. Directions for use should be respected, not blatantly disregarded. Again, don't be me!

But do give peppermint oil capsules a chance to properly help you. They are the best thing I've ever found to PREVENT pain, spasms, cramps, bloating, and gas in the first place. Especially when used as needed, and taken right before there may be gut troubles brewing.

In fact, they are so helpful that I made peppermint oil capsules one of my flagship medical foods for IBS, our Tummy Tamers. We formulated Heather's Tummy Tamers as a special blend of peppermint, fennel, and ginger oils as enteric softgels specifically for preventing IBS symptoms.

Because if an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then peppermint oil capsules weigh a ton.

You are not alone!

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